Movies

The Rundown: Let The Muppets Host The Oscars

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE — There, problem solved

The Oscars have a problem. The Oscars have a few problems, actually, as any perusal of social media following this week’s nominations will quickly reveal. Things are a little broken over there. Not unfixable, though. Some of the fixes will require more work, some soul-searching and some self-examination about who they choose to honor and why. I can’t do that for them. They have to go on that journey alone. What I can do, however, is solve one of their other problems, help take an issue on the periphery off of their plate. It’s so easy, too. Let the Muppets host the ceremony.

It’s crazy that this hasn’t already happened. The Oscars is spiraling on the host front, leaping headfirst into a second straight hostless event. The whys are clear, as the job can be thankless — so much yelling — and can invite intense scrutiny of everything a candidate has ever said and just be a whole thing, in general. You remember the Kevin Hart fiasco from last year. People are afraid to take all that on. That’s why we should just remove humans from the equation to the highest degree we can and put the show in the fuzzy foam hands of a crew of adorable rascal puppets.

Think about it. Kermit in a tux, Miss Piggy doing her thing, Fozzy busting out a few wocka-wocka groaners that are no worse than your usual award shows jokes but have the benefit of being delivered by a lovable bear. That boring speech about the voting process and the accountants? Now it’s delivered by Animal. The Swedish Chef can sing “Hallelujah” for the In Memoriam, although it’s probably safer to have Kermit do “Rainbow Connection.” Gonzo and Rizzo can present like half the awards. And when things get dry, when the proceedings start getting stale, when the audiences in the room and at home are getting rammy and need to vent, blammo, cut to Statler and Waldorf up in a booth to serve as their proxy.

It’s foolproof. Look at all the positives here:

  • Everyone loves the Muppets
  • The Muppets have no problematic history
  • Picture Joe Pesci receiving an award from Rowlf the Dog
  • Laura Dern might try to kiss one on the lips
  • Hanks + Muppets
  • I would like it
  • Etc.

It’s not like there’s no precedent for Muppets at the Oscars. I floated this idea in the Uproxx Slack earlier this week and my colleague Josh Kurp dropped this in moments later.

It’s perfect. It’s exactly what I’m talking about. We do that but stretch it out for hours. Who doesn’t want to see that? Who’s going to complain about the damn Muppets? Come on. Come onnnnn. This one is so simple I’m actually getting mad we haven’t done it already. It’s been right in front of our faces the whole time.

Let the Muppets host the Oscars.

Let the Muppets host the Oscars.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — Brian Cox, good interview

HBO

As we have discussed a number of times, it is the formal position of this column that the best interviews feature aging celebrities who no longer give a crap and are ready to let loose, with the champion of this category being the legendary NY Mag interview with Quincy Jones. Nothing can or will ever touch that, but I do give credit to Brian Cox — Succession’s Logan Roy, Mr. Boar on the Floor himself — for giving it a run in The Guardian this week. This interview goes places, man. The headline features the pull quote “I was touched up by Princess Margaret.” I enjoyed it immensely. Let’s dive in to a couple excerpts.

Afterwards, he celebrated his win – and Succession’s win, which was named best TV drama – by “taking lots of selfies”. Elton John paid his respects: “He was very praising of my Churchill, which was kind,” says Cox, who played the PM in the eponymous 2017 film. Leonardo DiCaprio also stopped by to tell him: “I’ve always wanted to work with you.” “Well, you’ve taken long enough about it,” Cox growled back. Has Cox always wanted to work with DiCaprio? “Mmmm, I don’t think in those terms,” he says affably.

Just tremendous. The Prince of Hollywood comes bearing praise and questionable claims — as though Leonardo DiCaprio does not have the juice and career freedom to make this kind of thing happen in an instant — and Cox just grumbles his way through a charming response. What a king. Part of me hopes Leo is serious and ends up with a guest role in season three of Succession as an American media titan or a hedge fund creep or a slick high-powered lawyer or Kendall’s new coke dealer or anything, really. A bigger part of me hopes the old lion freezes him out and denies him this one thing, just to torment him. Either way, I win. That’s what’s important here.

I have heard that Cox is a fan of cannabis so I ask if that helps him cope with the political situation in the US and UK. There is a long pause and I worry I’ve overstepped a line.

“It’s absolutely great and I recommend it to everyone – get stoned!” he says with deep feeling. “It does make the politics easier to bear. It’s a way of dealing with idiocy.”

“It’s absolutely great and I recommend it to everyone — get stoned!” Now there’s a quote. Kudos for the writerly flourish of “he says with deep feeling.” Just a perfect sentence all around. Please, entertainment press, stop interviewing hot young things with millions of Instagram followers and focus on tell-alls with septuagenarian icons of the stage and screen. I’m begging you. They are so much better and more fun. This should be our goal for 2020. Let’s focus on making this happen.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — Paddington is in the news

StudioCanal

Sometimes when I see two people sitting together and talking to themselves, possibly at a small table outside a coffee shop on a sunny spring day or on a crowded subway car headed downtown, I’ll think to myself, “Hmm, I bet they’re talking about Paddington.” So, this bit of news comes as no surprise to me.

I’m sure there’s a degree of sarcasm to this quote but please do note that I would do this for real all the time. Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman have had long careers in Hollywood filled with successes and fascinating tabloid fodder and if I met either of them I would promptly go full-on Chris Farley Show over that CGI bear. (“Hey Hugh, remember… remember when you tried to frame Paddington but he and Knuckles broke out of prison to correct that injustice? That was awesome.”) I’m just going to ignore reality and assume this is all true. Hugh and Nicole chatting about Paddington every day between takes, munching on marmalade sandwiches. You can’t take this away from me.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Get dessert to go

Shutterstock

You’ve been there. You’re at a nice restaurant having a nice meal. Appetizers? Sure. Entrees? Savory and decadent. Fresh-baked bread? An unreasonable amount before any of the real food actually gets to the table. By the time you’re polishing off your osso buco and the waiter comes around with his little, “Did we save any room for dessert?” you are hopelessly stuffed. Just miserable and bloated and in no way capable of shoving rich sweets — Rich Sweets, good fake name — into your ravaged stomach, even though the dessert list looks wonderful from top to bottom. A dilemma. A real problem. Do you press on like a glutton and risk ruining your evening or do you walk away and leave dessert as a casualty of a hard-fought war?

Well, let me suggest something that I’ve been doing recently to great success: get a dessert to go. Box that sucker up and bring it home and pound it down a few hours later once things in your stomach have shifted and created little crevice to stuff it in. Sure, it limits your choices a bit, as anything with a frozen accompaniment is out the window, but still. It’s a wonderful feeling to have a piece of delicious apple pie sitting in your fridge at, say, 10 p.m., waiting for you to break the glass in a hunger emergency. There’s no downside here, people, unless we’re factoring in your diet, which, come on. Live a little. You deserve it.

Bring dessert home.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — MacGruber!

NBC rolled out the specifics on its upcoming streaming network this week. It’s called Peacock and will feature shows that are produced by NBC royalty like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling, as well as over 1,000 hours of the Dick Wolf library. Could this result in me frittering away the entire 2020s in front of my television with the original Law & Order running over and over and over? It could. It worked for the 2000s until TNT replaced it with Bones. Stick with the classics, I say.

But that’s not the point. No, the point is that there’s a MacGruber series on the way, too.

In “MacGruber,” after rotting in prison for over a decade, America’s ultimate hero and uber patriot MacGruber (played by Forte) is finally released. His mission: to take down a mysterious villain from his past—Brigadier Commander Enos Queeth. With the entire world in the crosshairs, MacGruber, Vicki, and Piper must race against time to defeat the forces of evil, only to find that evil may be lurking within.

This makes me very happy. MacGruber is on a list with movies like Popstar and Walk Hard that flopped tremendously as the box office and went on to become absolute favorites of mine. I hope they get Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe back. I hope it becomes a huge hit and there’s another movie. I love MacGruber. Screw you.

READER MAIL

If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at brian.grubb@uproxx.com (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

From Amanda:

I know you are a rabid 76ers fan. On that note, i just learned about the existence of their awesome song.

Have you ever written about this song? If not, i insist you remedy that. If you have written about it, i suggest you do it more, preferably with weekly frequency. Because this song is amazing. It sounds like a song that was made for 1970s movie about a fictional basketball team. Except it is real — and, i would argue, better and catchier than 90 percent of pop songs.

Not sure there is a point to this letter, but I just found this song, had a lot of feelings about it, and needed to express them.

1
2
345
Sixers!

10 9 8
76ers!

Amanda, you fool! Don’t you see what you’ve done! I spend the vast majority of my week trying to hold back an avalanche of Sixers opinions, for your sake as well as my own. Every Friday, this column that is allegedly about the week in entertainment (and sometimes dessert) is teetering on the edge of being 2,500 words about the Simmons-Embiid fit and how much I love rookie defensive prodigy Matisse Thybulle. I’m fighting so hard. And then you do… this. How can I possibly defend against this? It’s torture!

But yes, I agree. I love the Sixers song. I have pulled into Wegmans on more than one occasion with it bumping out of the speakers in my handicap-accessible minivan. You could make a reasonable argument that it is my favorite song. My favorite part about it is… no, actually, I have three favorite parts about it:

  • It is, in fact, a relic of the 1970s and then team brought it back recently for no apparent reason beyond “because it rules”
  • The Sixers play it after every home win and you can hear it bumping through the arena as the postgame interviews take place, which gives it a pleasant victory-based association that adds to its charm
  • Sometimes, when the Sixers have the game safely in hand, some rascal in the audio booth will start playing it before the game is even over, like with 10 seconds left as the team is dribbling out the clock, in an act of bravado so disrespectful I can’t help but adore it.

It’s the best. I’m singing it now in my head and might keep going all weekend. Thank you for giving me an excuse to babble about it, Amanda. I’m sorry I called you a fool earlier. Play us outta here, Sixers.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To Georgia!

At around 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 25, a man approached a Taco Bell in unincorporated Lawrenceville and entered through the drive-thru window.

I see no issue here.

Surveillance video showed him using the fryers to make himself a meal. After eating, he proceeded to take a nap on the restaurant floor.

Still not seeing what the problem is. A guy crawled into a Taco Bell through the drive-thru window on Christmas morning, made a snack, and took a nap. Is… is that not allowed? It feels like it should be allowed.

Prior to leaving about three hours later, the suspect stole a laptop and tablet, investigators said.

Okay, fine. He shouldn’t have taken the electronics. That was over the line. He knows that now, though. He’s probably sorry. The Grinch stole a town’s entire Christmas and they still invited him to dinner when he said he was sorry. Come on. I’ll defend him at the trial if it comes to it. I’m already chambering up a closing argument about how Santa breaks into millions of homes the same night and pounds down a pile of cookies and milk. How is this guy any different? And have you, Mr. District Attorney, proven that this man is not, in fact, Santa Claus? Are you really going to put Santa in jail for the crime of wanting a Crunch Wrap? Is that what this country is coming to? Shame on you. Shame on us. On Christmas, even.

I rest my case.

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